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Berkey's shooting helps Juniata men's hoops upend Moravian

(Posted January 9, 2009)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Junior guard Jeff Berkey (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stonycreek) hit a pair of clutch baskets and was 4-of-5 at the free-throw line down the stretch, and led Juniata College to a 69-68 road upset of Moravian College, Friday night at Johnston Hall in Bethlehem, Pa.

Leading 56-52 with 5:02 remaining in the game, Moravian cut the margin to one point on a traditional three-point play by Chris Cullen. Berkey answered with a jumper to widen the Eagle lead to 58-55, but the Greyhounds' Nelson Leon hit a jumper of his own eight seconds later.

Berkey again expanded the Juniata lead, this time with a three-pointer, and senior David Thompson (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) followed up with a fast-break layup off a missed three-pointer by Cullen at the other end of the floor, giving the Eagles a 63-57 lead with 2:41 showing on the clock.

Moravian's Charlie Rigoglioso trimmed the Juniata advantage to four points with a fast-break layup at the 1:51 mark, and the Greyhounds began fouling to force the Eagles to defend their lead at the stripe. Juniata went 6-of-8 at the line over the final minute-and-a-half, with Berkey converting his first four attempts to keep the Eagles' lead at 67-63 with 31 seconds remaining.

A layup by the Greyhounds' Eric Weaver with 21 seconds on the clock was matched by Ryan Jones' (Coudersport, Pa./Coudersport) two foul shots six seconds later, keeping the difference at four points. Moravian's Sergio Camacho drained a three with eight seconds remaining, trimming the Juniata lead to 69-68, and Berkey missed the front end of a one-and-one with the Greyhounds gaining the rebound. Camacho's three-point attempt at the buzzer was unsuccessful, and Juniata escaped with the win.

Juniata (3-10, 1-1 Landmark) shot 51.6% (16-31) in the first half, and held Moravian to just 38.5% (10-26) shooting from the floor, on its way to a 40-27 lead at the half. The Eagles set the pace early with a 7-0 run to open the game, including a jumper and a trey by Berkey, and then went on a 15-3 run midway through the first stanza to take a 27-18 lead with 7:24 remaining.

A Berkey three-pointer off a pass from Johnny Martinez (Mount Union, Pa./Mount Union) with five seconds left in the first half gave Juniata its widest lead of the half.

Berkey finished the game with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-6 mark from beyond the arc. Thompson finished with 19 points, while Jones chipped in with 17 points to go with a game-high nine rebounds.

Moravian (5-7, 1-1 Landmark) was paced offensively by Camacho with 15 points, with Cullen tallied 14 in the losing effort. Weaver added another 10 points with six boards to the Moravian cause.

Juniata continues its conference road trip on Saturday afternoon when its faces the University of Scranton at 4:00 p.m. in Scranton, Pa.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.